Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was shot and killed by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39.
King was a trailblazer of the American civil rights movement, leading dozens of nonviolent demonstrations for racial equality including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma-to-Montgomery marches for voting rights, and perhaps most famously, the 1963 March on Washington; there, he gave his legendary “I Have a Dream Speech” before a crowd of more than 250,000 people.
President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning for the slain leader.
(Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)